Nickel Package: 5 Current Skins Events

John Keim looks at five current topics concerning the Redskins.

1. The goal line fiasco.

Here's what I liked and what I didn't like about the goal-line situation Sunday. First, I didn't have a huge problem with spiking the ball on first down. I do believe it gave the Redskins a chance to get their personnel into the game. And I didn't mind the bootleg and pass; with three shots from the 1, with a mobile quarterback, it's a good call. However, it was clear on third down that New York knew what was coming. Giants LB Antonio Pierce was motioning to his right and as soon as the ball was snapped, he and Kawika Mitchell were already headed to the hole. The play had no chance. Then came the biggest error: Washington still had a chance to send in another play, but the coaches didn't want to do so. But here's the thing: by rushing, New York had to know what was coming. The Giants clearly did and Justin Tuck blew up Pete Kendall, which then caused Mike Sellers to get tangled up and Ladell Betts to trip over them. A more experienced quarterback would have audibilized -- or at least called a fake one. The sequence was an indication, once again, in the trust Joe Gibbs has in Campbell. I don't think it's a lot yet.

2. Campbell's progress.

One thing the Redskins wanted Campbell to improve on this season was his accuracy. Hence the offseason focus on his mechanics. But, so far, it hasn't paid off. Campbell is completing passes at a worse rate (52.4) than last year (53). He'll never be a highly accurate thrower because of his penchant for throwing the ball downfield. He'll take chances other quarterbacks won't. But for this offense to be effective, he needs to be at least at 58 percent. Until then, the offense will be inconsistent.

3. Betts/Portis.

If Portis is your No. 1 back, get him in the game in the most crucial sequence. Maybe his speed to the hole would have made a difference on the first run. And what we've seen of Betts is that the more carries he gets, the better he becomes. When he averaged 26 runs a game in the past 5 weeks last season, he averaged 4.9 yards per carry. This year, he's averaging around 2.8 yards a run. It's all about rhythm. That said, the final sequence was not his fault.

4. Injuries.

It's the single biggest issue Washington faces in the final 13 weeks. Does anyone really believe that the following players will make it through the season without missing a week: Cornelius Griffin; Santana Moss; Phillip Daniels; Marcus Washington; Portis? Every one of them already has an issue, or dealt with one all summer. Moss and Griffin would be near-devastating losses if they had to miss substantial time. Or if they're clearly affected by a nagging injury. The loss to New York can be overcome. The coaches and players remain very upbeat about their chances. But when you're talking about players with injury pasts ... and they're already getting rather dinged up ... then it's cause for concern.

5. No practice during the bye week.

I don't mind this one -- and not just because it gives me a little more time with my family either. Considering the Redskins face 13 straight weeks of games, it can't do them much harm to get away for a week, regroup and plow forward. With so many players nicked, this is their last chance for a break.


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